For my first blog post, Ben asked me to explain what God has been teaching me and doing in my life recently.
Being an economist, a son of an accountant and a debt center manager, money has always been a big area of concern for me. Making sure I wasn't spending too much, using my money efficiently and effectively and following my (very tight!) budget constraint was very important to me. It got to the stage where I was spending less and less on essentials like food each week because I thought I was trying to honour God in that I wasn't living dependent on money.
One of the talks within the ‘Facing your fears’ series at the Belfrey was about the fear of ‘not having enough’ and this, combined with a chat with a friend, led me to feeling God was convicting me and challenging me about the way I was viewing and using the money I have been blessed with. I realized that financial stability had become an idol in my life. At the end of each week I would take huge amounts of pride and satisfaction from my bank balance and how well I’d been keeping to my budget. I felt comfortable and safe because of the knowledge of a bank figure rather than because I’m in personal relationship with the creator of the universe!
6 The point is this:whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart,not reluctantly or under compulsion, forGod loves a cheerful giver.8 AndGod is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiencyin all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.’ 2 Corinthians 9
How can I be generous when I have very little money? I can’t remember who told me this but I find it really helpful: ‘You’ll never be generous when you’re rich if you’re not generous when you’re poor’. Generosity is a mind-set independent of income level. I think Paul highlights this well in 2 Corinthians 9 by saying that we give ‘not reluctantly or under compulsion’ but as a natural result of our love for God. This love manifests itself in obedience to him and giving cheerfully. The widow gives hugely in proportion to her income in Luke 21:1-4 and we are also supposed to model this generosity and use the blessing we have received from God to bless others and to help further his Kingdom here on Earth.
How can I be generous without being reckless? I’m not saying that we shouldn't be responsible with money; we have been called since creation to steward all things wisely. God is the provider of all things and as his children he promises us financial provision. As his children the Bible teaches us to honour God in the way we view and use the money God has provided. After all it is not even our money we just steward it!
How does a mind-set of generosity lead to a lifestyle of generosity? One question that I ask is: ‘How can I bless the people I am with and be as generous as I can in this situation?’ whereas before I would ask ‘How can I spend as little as possible?’ I love meeting people for coffee/drinks at the pub and a simple application that I found was buying someone a drink. Something simple like this can make someone feel so appreciated and loved. Another example of how I saw what God has done in my life recently was when a couple of my friends needed to borrow some money. I wasn't sure when they were going to repay me but I trusted that God would provide if I had need.
This may be obvious to many of you, or the effect of this may look different to how it affected me, but as Christians we should be operating with a mind-set and lifestyle of generosity. I pray that our generosity will glorify God, his provision and all he has done for us.
Blog written by David Lasky
David is a first year student at the University of York and is studying Economics. He loves football and is an Arsenal fan but also has a soft spot for Hull City.